Freshman, Lauren Cornelio: “Love and happiness impact me positively. There’s something about being with a group of friends that make you laugh until your stomach hurts or just making you feel like you belong.”
Sophomore, Sarah Celestin: “It means everything to me. It is better to live a life full of happiness and love – I would pick that over riches and materialistic things any day.”
Junior, Randy Dominguez: “In a scenario where I feel loved, I am mostly willing to go twice as hard, whether it’s at work, school, or simply getting asked to do a favor.”
Senior, Mike Estrin: “Happiness and feeling loved is very important and reminds me that there are close family and friends that truly care about me.”
Words will always bring out the admirable inspiration that causes an innate sense of justice in each and every one of us. For a long time, I pondered the idea of love and happiness and what that truly meant to me. I sat here, angered with the idea that maybe I just wasn’t fortunate enough to be given the same opportunities to showcase what I was really made of. Then it hit me; I was sitting here generating hate for the things I couldn’t achieve yet, and taking for granted everything else around me. The fact of the matter is, I, and anyone else who feels or felt like me, will have to get over it. Love and happiness is important, don’t get me wrong. However, each and every one of us are only in control of what we can give, not take. Don’t sit there generating hate! Find meaning in what it is to discover love and happiness within yourself and other people.
When you look at the world today, where is the love? What does that mean to you?
Lauren: “People in this world think that they are better than others and that they should have more power and opportunities than others based on the color of their skin or where they grew up. That’s not love, you need to be accepting of others.”
Sarah: “The chaos and pain definitely outweighs the love. There is a lot of hate, but I do believe that everyone has good inside of them.”
Randy: “Looking at society, we see people that are under attack for being different, bashed because of their skin color, or even killed for believing in a “God.” People think it’s comical to laugh with the sinners rather than be the one to put an end to the hate.”
Mike: “I witnessed on the news a random American citizen giving a police officer a hug to thank him for his hard work. To me the love is between us and being there for each other while this country is struggling.”
Feel bad for not having what you instinctively want in life; that’s what it means to be human. Take a breath, and now read: There are Syrian families getting bombed on a daily basis. There are people of color outraged at the lack of a justice system that should be showing equality because their blood is being spilled. We have presidential candidates running with such high volume of support that don’t always necessarily portray what they tell us. Love for one another that can put a stop to prejudice ideals; love for one another that can really make this country better for people of all colors; love for one another that could open up the eyes of people that support a tyrant or a bigot.
Where is that love?
I grew up thinking I was normal, until one day, I realized I was gay and decided to accept it; there was no real world change, or revelation, but I did think I was going to lose my family. I hid that secret for many years, and never knew how to truly come out. Ends up, one of the biggest struggles I had in life ended up being an internal one: being on happy terms with myself because my family already knew. You see, love can only go as far as you let it. You can give as much as you want and take in as much given to you. These changes won’t be overnight, but people need to know that love and happiness is sometimes all it takes for someone to be truly inspired to live and fight again.
I cry every time I think of the people less fortunate than me, and I am still so selfishly happy being appreciative because of the upbringing I had and the family I was born into. Remember that each and every day we have is not one given to us because we earned it. It is given to us because we were the lucky ones. So sit there, and be sad about the fact that maybe right now, you don’t have love and happiness in your life. Sit there and be upset, and angry, and cry; that is fine. We all deserve to feel emotions and to vent out our frustrations.
Do you have a question that you'd like Jake to tackle? Email Jake to be featured in an upcoming advice column.